Category: Upper YA Fiction

A #SpooktasticReads audiobook review | “Jorvik Calling” (Soul Riders: Book One) by Helena Dahlgren, narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya; courtesy of #NetGalley

Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

#SpooktasticReads Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Earlier this year, in late Winter (February) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.

I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “Soul Riders” direct from the publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: As a new reviewer on NetGalley, I’m sorting out how to get the Press Materials for each of the audiobooks I’m reviewing when I share them on my blog Jorie Loves A Story. When I contacted NetGalley Support they informed me that if a separate Press Kit is not included on the audiobook’s book page we’re allowed as reviewers to use the book cover and synopsis provided when we go to share our review of that audiobook on our blogs; as long as we give attribution as I have done at the bottom of this review in “Sources”. Those materials are provided with permission of the publishers to be used by reviewers via NetGalley.

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Why I wanted to read &/or listen to “Soul Riders”:

I was attracted to a few elements about this story when I first found it on NetGalley – the horses, the sisterhood friendships of the girls’ and the fact this is all set in a fantastical world. I originally thought this was a story that was ‘set elsewhere’ without any tangible connection to our own living reality however as I shifted into the audiobook itself, I realised this is an Urban Fantasy wherein there are elements of modern life (our world) within the sphere of the series but there are elements of the fantastical in the background running concurrent to the girls’ school and life experiences.

I have a personal attachment to horse dramas & Westerns – whenever I can find one or the other which suits my interests, I love to soak inside the stories! Having had a close connection to horses when I was a child I believe plays a strong part in why I continue to seek out stories which features horses and/or the world of horses – from Contemporary &/or Historical Westerns to Contemporary Western Romances or Cowboy Romances (such as my Harlequin Heartwarming readings).

Finding a story set in a blended Middle Grade & Young Adult world for Fantasy which brings into focus my love of horses with the added advantage of hidden talents and special gifts given to the girls who ride star horses – honestly, what could be a better bookish find!?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A #SpooktasticReads audiobook review | “Jorvik Calling” (Soul Riders: Book One) by Helena Dahlgren, narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya; courtesy of #NetGalleyJorvik Calling
Subtitle: Soul Riders (series), Video Game Tie-In (Star Stable)
by Helena Dahlgren
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley

Step into the universe of the massively popular adventure game Star Stable, and follow four friends who discover their magic powers and learn that every girl can be a hero in this fantasy trilogy.

Soul Riders tells the heroic tale of four young girls who have been chosen by destiny to save the world from the ancient demon: Garnok and his band of dangerous Dark Riders. Lisa is a teenage girl who is still coming to terms with the tragic loss of her mother in a riding accident and has sworn never to go near a horse again until she met Starshine, a mysterious blue-maned steed who comes to her in dreams. New on the island of Jorvik, Lisa befriends Alex, Linda, and Anne. Under the guidance of mystical druids, they discover they each have a special bond to their horses that gives them magical powers. While trying to balance school, family, and friendships they have to figure out what it means to be a Soul Rider. They are attacked by the Dark Riders and the mysterious Mr. Sands discover that their horses are in danger. Instead of relying on their combined strength, they decide to split up on their quest to find answers and learn to fight back against their enemies. However, will it be too late before they realize their mistake?

Jorvik Calling is the first installment in the epic, fantasy trilogy, Soul Riders, about magic, friendship, and horses bound to thrill all young equestrian fans.

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Equestrian Fiction, Horse Drama, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Video Game Tie-In Series, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal Suspense, YA Urban Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781524855338

ASIN: B087D8F3SW

Published by Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 5 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published By: Andrews McMeel Audio
an imprint of Andrews McMeel Publishing (@AndrewsMcMeel)

NOTE: When I first started listening to this title I thought for sure it would be considered Middle Grade Fantasy – however, as it progressed forward, I started to see it leans into YA Fantasy. It might be on the fence of merging Upper YA into Adult Fantasy within an Urban Fantasy world-building and setting. Ergo, if your considering this for younger readers rather than adult, know that this has the innocence of a Middle Grade Fantasy intermixed with the darker villains of an Upper YA/Adult Fantasy wherein if you are seeking lighter readers for Middle Grade readers I would advise against this one.

Converse via: #UrbanFantasy as well as #DarkFantasy and Upper #YAFantasy
+ #SoulRiders, #audiobook or #audioreads as well as #JorikRising and #StarStable

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Bullies and the Bullied, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, NetGalley, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

#MyYASummer Book Review | “Summer by Summer” by Heather Burch | #ReadingIsBeautiful No.2 (part of #YASRC 2015)

Posted Friday, 21 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#ReadingISBeautiful Summer YA Reading Challenge by BookSparks

I had fully intended to read my #ReadingIsBeautiful selections hugged closer to the months when the books were meant to be reviewed (Summer of 2015), however, those of whom have caught my posts relating to circumstances which wicked out hours and derailed my attempts to read along with the rest of the book bloggers who took up the same challenge are already in the loop realising my readings of these stories will come quite a bit later than planned (by a few years).

To recap the events for those who are visiting me for the first time,
please direct your attention to the following posts:

You can read a fuller disclosure of my readings of these novels on my review for “Vote for Remy” in the top anchour section of the post.This marks my six review overall spilt between #SRC2015,#ReadingIsBeautiful (the YA selections) and #FRC2015, however, it is the fifth Summer Reading Challenge selection I am reading.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I originally found BookSparks PR Spring 2014, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them (in Spring 2015) to see if I could join the challenge in 2015 instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel, “The Shepherdess of Siena”. 

I started to participate in #SRC2015 during Summer 2015 until lightning storms quickly overtook my life and the hours I could give to the reading challenge. Summer ended hard and with a newfound resolve to pick up where I had left off, I posted as many reviews on behalf of BookSparks blog tours and/or the three reading challenges I had committed myself to participate inside (i.e. #SRC2015, #ReadingIsBeautiful (YA version), and #FRC2015).

I am unsure if I can resume hosting with BookSparks once my backlogue is erased, however, my main motivation in resuming where I left off was to ‘meet the stories’ even if my days of being a blogger with BookSparks ended the day I couldn’t keep up with the reviews when life interrupted my postings. I continue to hope as my reviews arrive on my blog the authors and the publisher(s) will forgive my delays. Life kept interfering with my plans to read these novels – in late 2016 my Dad had his stroke, 2017 marked his year of recovery and in 2018 I had ten months of health afflictions. I simply didn’t have a lot of time to re-attach into the stories despite re-attempting to read them off/on for the past few years.

I received a complimentary copy of “Summer by Summer” by BookSparks. By participating in the #SRC2015 – this is the YA version of that 2015 challenge called #ReadingIsBeautiful – I am reading the novels in exchange for my honest reviews; whether I am receiving a complimentary copy or borrowing them through my local library. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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My selection process for #sRC2015 + #Yasrc directly:

I made four selections for the #YASRC challenge – they were spilt rather evenly between Fantasy and Contemporary YA, as I made two selections for each genre. The interesting bit is that I hadn’t realised Summer by Summer was a Clean Reads selection for young adult (or adult) readers who are seeking a gentler side of YA. One of my personal contentions for reading YA as an adult reader and as a Prospective Adoptive Mum in the future, is how adult YA is becoming. Meaning, it is hard to find YA written for a true young adult reader – wherein, there isn’t strong language or overtly graphic violence. Whenever I find stories of YA which have vulgarity inclusive to their narratives, I either mention it directly on my reviews, find those stories to be DNF’d and/or they fall into what I place as a category for Upper YA due to the rather adult situations, strong language and/or other inclusive depictions of life I’d categorise as being nearly ‘outside the YA genre’ altogether.

What is beautiful about accidentally finding Blink YA Books is that this is a publisher who is striving towards keeping YA “YA” by the definitions that I appreciate myself for the genre! You can read more about how they’re doing this on their Info Page about their publishing practices. I personally can’t wait to read more stories by them as a result!

Especially as I’m an active reader of YA (and Middle Grade stories) inasmuch as the fact I’m a hybrid reader who moves between mainstream and INSPY markets. It is an uplift of joy to realise there are publishers out there who get why a lot of us like YA for what it can give not just young adult readers but for adults like myself who have re-discovered the beauty of YA Reads (hence why #iReadYA is a lovely tag, too) for the joyfulness of reconnecting with a part of our readerly lives we still love to discover today as older adults. Secondly, as a future parent I am also mindful of the stories I’d like to encourage my children to read themselves and as a book blogger I’ve been able to garnish a list of stories I would feel comfortable allowing them to read.

The reason I did select Summer by Summer was due to the premise involving a nanny on vacation to South America. I love stories involving nannies and au pairs – not just in fiction but in films, such as the Gregory Harrison Au Pair series of films on the previously known Fox Family Channel starring opposite Heidi Noelle Lenhart. Each Summer since 2015 I’ve been striving to focus on this novel and I can’t even count how many times its been prominently featured on my bookshelf or compiled into my #SummerReads selections for each of those Summers. For whichever reason, it remained a firmative fixture of my backlogue of Reviews until this Summer, 2019.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Summer by Summer Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Summer by Summer
by Heather Burch
Source: Publicist via BookSparks

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), New Adult Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780310729631

Published by Blink YA Books

on 7th April, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

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Listen to the synopsis as shared by the author:

Published By: Blink (@BlinkYABooks)
an imprint of HarperCollins Focus

Note on classification of genre: Although this was marketed for YA audiences, I felt upon reading the synopsis again for the first time in a few years combined with the context of the opening bridge of the novel – this felt like it fits better within the branch of Upper YA and/or New Adult. Especially considering Summer isn’t a young teenager – she’s employed as a nanny, a young woman who started the job as an eighteen year old and soon celebrated her nineteenth birthday.

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #SummerbySummer & #ReadingIsBeautiful + #YASRC

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 21 June, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, New Adult Fiction, Post-911 (11th September 2001), PTSD, Realistic Fiction, South America, Suspense, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

#PubDay Book Blitz with Notes and Extras | “Jaclyn and the Beanstalk” by Mary Ting A new #YAFantasy novel which re-invents the tale surrounding #JackAndTheBeanStalk with an impressive premise driving it forward!

Posted Tuesday, 4 September, 2018 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Happily this is my second of featuring stories I would love to be reading through spotlighting the titles I am discovering through Xpresso Book Tours! Earlier this week I was highlighting a new Digital First release for a New Adult Romantic Suspense whilst tonight I am drawing your eye to a fairy tale re-telling of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ – set within a Young Adult Fantasy world. I would speculate this one is a bit darker than I normally might be drawn to read – however, when it comes to Dark Fantasy, I dearly remember how charmed & enchanted I was by ‘Bearskin’ which gives me the hopefulness to find more Dark Fantasy writers out there who can give me a chillingly thrill of a read *but!* in such a way I can handle the context of their stories without feeling I’ve become :pushed: outside my zones of comfort (to a negative effect).

What do you love about fairy tale re-tellings & after canon sequels on behalf of the stories / series / canons you draw a thirst of interest in re-exploring? Do you read a heap of adaptations per each original you love OR do you hop round like I do and only occasionally read the same story told through different variants every odd moon!?

‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ has a lot of room to work with in regards of how to re-tell this particular Classic and still have room to breathe! This is partially why I was enchanted by the premise but also, in finding new voices within the bracket of Young Adult Fantasy which is a niche of Fantasy literature I happen to be drawn inside more oft-times than naught! The worlds within YA Fantasy worlds are just as compelling if not moreso than their Adult variants – I have spent many enjoyable hours (including recently!) spellbound by how writers are curating their worlds, deepening our awareness of how wide the realms of Fantasy can become explored & of the convicting plot threads which carry us into the final chapters where we might not be fully ready to depart reading the story!

I selected two extracts from this novel, which I am happy to announce *celebrated!* its #PubDay for print today on the 4th of September – isn’t that especially grand for those of us who are traditional readers!? These extracts and the quote banners which accompany them I felt gave the best ‘introduction’ to who Jacyln is in the story but also, the direction of Ms Ting’s vision for this novel! 

The artwork gracing the cover was brilliant – between the colour palette and the combination of seeing Jacyln near the beanstalk with the ready sense she was affirmatively ready for whatever was awaiting her – gave you the strong impression there would be quite a heap of adventuring to be done alongside her as we ventured into the story left behind for us to read!

#PubDay Book Blitz with Notes and Extras | “Jaclyn and the Beanstalk” by Mary Ting A new #YAFantasy novel which re-invents the tale surrounding #JackAndTheBeanStalk with an impressive premise driving it forward!Jacyln and the Beanstalk
by Mary Ting

What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.

Together, Jaclyn and Jack must battle to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Fantasy Fiction, YA Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781944109745

Published by Vesuvian Books

on 4th September, 2018

Published By: Vesuvian Books (@VesuvianMedia)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #YAFantasy, #YoungAdult + #Fantasy

OR #DarkFantasy #JackAndTheBeanstalk re-telling

About Mary Ting

Mary Ting

International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry.

Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading New Adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great.

Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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Posted Tuesday, 4 September, 2018 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Blitz, Book Spotlight, Coming-Of Age, Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Upper YA Fiction, Xpresso Book Tours, Young Adult Fiction

Book Blitz with Notes and Extras | “Twelve Months of Awkward” by Lisa Acerbo a new Digital First Contemporary Romantic Suspense which caught my eye!

Posted Monday, 3 September, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Books in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have an announcement – I decided to start hosting for Xpresso Book Tours for showcasing new books which interest me to be #amreading, such as this spotlight blitz post and/or hosting guest features for authors on behalf of the stories I want to be reading! They mostly feature digital releases on their blog tours, which is why I am not expecting to be hosting review tours for them but I do like to find new Indie published authors and from what I can gather from their list of tours, they have the tendency of featuring quite a lovely variety of Indie writers!

As you know, my search for new Contemporary authors has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past few years, yet when I first read the premise behind this one it felt like it stepped out a bit from what I would usually expect to find inside a Contemporary plot. Especially since this is a story which is anchoured to someone who is trying to not just overcome a particular moment of their life but to find distance and peace from it as well.

Romantic Suspense threads of intrigue are becoming my jam lately – as you well know, I am over the moon in *love!* with #LoveInspired Suspense novels – each of those lovelies is a #RomSusp knitted taut and tight out of high emotions, dramatic passageways and the eclipse of a Thriller you are never fully sure if your prepared to handle but you *keep turning the pages!* all the same! Meanwhile, outside of my INSPY readings – I still love to see out these sorts of stories on the mainstream side of the ledger!

What set this particular book apart in my mind is the fact it’s #NewAdult – a tricky category of interest for me as I rarely if ever find an NA I can soak into and find myself enthused. Ms Acerbo held my attention in the extracts provided on this Blitz tour and that in of itself was a happy surprise! I am truly hopeful as I ever am this Digital First will one day be released into print or audio – thereby allowing me to read it.

What do you currently find yourself drawn into when it comes to Rom Suspense plot threads & especially when it comes to New Adult!? What are you personally seeking when you try to find stories which fit inside these particular categories of interest!?

As an aside, when I first saw the publisher was ‘Torrid’ – it brought back fond memories of a clothing store heralding the same name – you know, from the 90s and early 2000s before it was ‘altered’ out of its funkified state of loveliness to be just another ‘lemming’ of bland!?

Book Blitz with Notes and Extras | “Twelve Months of Awkward” by Lisa Acerbo a new Digital First Contemporary Romantic Suspense which caught my eye!Twelve Months of Awkward Moments
by Lisa Acerbo

Dani can’t wait for senior year at college. A straight-A scholar whose anxiety is a daily struggle, being awkward, introverted, and studious has become a way of life. She vows this year will be different. It’s time to move beyond her comfort zone, but that’s not easy.

Dani’s wild roommate and handsome best friend hate each other; her crazy family won’t leave her alone; and a new job forces her to be social. Unfortunately, when college romance finally calls, Dani is unable to answer thanks to a stalker who has her all tied up.

Can she stay alive long enough to find love and graduate?

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781682992937

on 30th August, 2018

Format: eBook

Published By: Torrid Books (@torridbooks)

Available Formats: this is a Digital First release into ebook

*I am hoping this goes into print or POD eventually so I can read it!

Converse on Twitter via: #Contemporary #RomSusp

About Lisa Acerbo

Lisa Acerbo

Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct instructor at a local community college. Her previous novels have been published through a variety of indie presses. She has a short story “Carnivorous” coming out in October as part of an anthology titled Carnival of Nightmares. When not writing or teaching, she spends time with her family, friends and pets. She also fosters dogs to help them find their forever homes.

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Posted Monday, 3 September, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, College & University Years, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Violence, Indie Author, Modern Day, New Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Singletons & Commitment, Upper YA Fiction